The town of Portsmouth is among the organizations that will share $500,000 in "Centennial Community Grants" from the Rhode Island Foundation, according to a release sent to media this afternoon.
The town received $10,000 to help create a dog park for its 1,672 registered dogs and their owners as a place to gather and interact, thus building community in a 2-acre section of Melville Park, centrally located in the town, that will be dedicated to preserving the natural beauty that typifies Newport County.
"This dog park will be a welcoming place for residents of Newport County and beyond, including visitors to the Melville Ponds Campground, and also provide opportunities for community volunteers as well as education and training to dog owners," said Bunny Miller, of the Portsmouth Dog Park Planning Committee.
The project is among 43 that received funding from the Foundation. All the work that is being funded is expected to be completed before the end of the year. The maximum grant was $15,000.
The Centennial Community Grants program is just one in a series of activities to mark the Foundation’s 100th anniversary this year.
“We are celebrating our Centennial by funding projects that will bring life to every one of Rhode Island's remarkable cities and towns. Communities will blossom and grow stronger as this works rolls out,” said Jessica David, the Foundation’s senior vice president of strategy and community investments.
“Our work would not be possible but for the visionaries who came before us, the donors who generously invest in Rhode Island and the community leaders who convert the resources into action,” said Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.
The Centennial grants were funded in part through a generous gift from long-time Foundation donor Anne Sage.
“This is such a wonderful way to celebrate the Foundation’s 100th anniversary. What an amazing opportunity to cast a wide net and benefit people from every corner of Rhode Island,” Sage said.
Founded on June 13, 1916, with a $10,000 gift from industrialist Jesse Metcalf, the Foundation’s assets have grown to nearly $800 million. Over the past five years, the Foundation has awarded more than $165 million in grants.
The centerpiece of the centennial celebration is a $10 million campaign to restore Roger Williams Park. The work will include improvements to the park’s entrances, new signage, expanded walkways and bicycle paths and repairs to the Museum of Natural History, the Bandstand, the Casino and the Temple to Music.
The Foundation has already raised $5 million. The support includes $1.5 million from the Foundation itself as well as a $1.15 million gift from The Champlin Foundations to restore the historic Bandstand and Museum. In addition, more than four dozen other donors have contributed to the campaign.
The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2015, the Foundation awarded $41.5 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grant making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.
Editorial note: Written from a press release.